Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lolong, The Biggest Crocodile in the World

 I wonder how Lolong, the 21 ft. and three inch long crocodile (from snout to tail as measured by a rep from National Geographic), is feeling. Lolong is bigger than Cassius the Croc of Australia, whom the Guinness World Records listed as the largest in the world at 17 ft. and 11 inches in 2008.

Here's a video of how Lolong was captured:

I wonder how Lolong feels to be such a big croc. Did that make him feel powerful and superior in the marsh where he was discovered in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur? Or was he just lonely.

Size matters. Consider Big Bird in Sesame Street – an oversized baby who was just learning the world, but who had nurture and support from neighbors. Or Gulliver and the Lilliputians. Okay, those are fictional characters. But we do know that in the world of the deep, and even among wildlife on earth, size matters.

Lolong became known to the townfolk in Bunawan because of his size. He ate a lot of carabaos, which are of primary importance to poor farmers. And a farmer who is missing, and a 12-year-old girl, long disappeared, are believed to have been victims of Lolong’s huge appetite.

When a team of hunters, local government officials and residents finally captured Lolong the giant croc, he fought fiercely. He tore his ropes twice and it took 100 men to drag him out of the marsh. Lolong became the “cover boy croc” of all the local dailies, with photos of him tied up and attached to a sturdy wooden wagon contraption.
People gathered around him for the photo op, one man standing in the middle of Lolong’s back, daringly leaning on the tethered croc and spreading his arms from side to side to illustrate how large Lolong is. 

I wonder, if at that moment, Lolong shed crocodile tears.

Currently Lolong is being kept in a crocodile eco-park that was built specially for him, in Barangay Consuelo, Bunawan in Agusan del Sur. It is open to the public and has generated quite a sum of money for Lolong’s upkeep from interested visitors.

National Geographic has recommended to the Guinness Book of World Records that Lolong be listed as the largest crocodile in captivity. Lolong can’t be returned to the marsh that was his home, because it is too close to a sizeable, impoverished human population.

There are considerations of making Lolong an ambassador for crocodile care and preservation in the Philippines. So in this way, Lolong will have a purpose in helping people to appreciate the importance of preserving this endangered species. Including the biggest and rarest ones, like Lolong the giant croc.

[Note: Some two years after his capture, our dear Lolong passed away. I will be writing a blog about what happened after he was captured, up to his unfortunate death.]

For more info on crocodiles (and Lolong) you can go to:

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